Visual Detection of Small Unmanned Aircraft: Modeling the Limits of Human Pilots is a dissertation by Gregory Stephen Woo submitted to the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

This study aimed to identify the crucial physical variables that affect the visual detection of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones. Furthermore, it aimed to explore how these variables impact the ability of human pilots operating manned aircraft at speeds ranging from 60 knots to 160 knots in the airport terminal area to visually perceive these small unmanned aircraft to prevent collisions. The study also generated a set of probability curves for various operational scenarios, illustrating the likelihood of visually detecting a small unmanned aircraft in sufficient time to avoid a collision. In defining the constraints of human performance for the visual search task, the study employed the established limitations of human visual acuity based on the mechanics of the human eye and previous research on the visual detection of distant objects by humans.

Publication Date: August 2017

Visual Detection of Small Unmanned Aircraft: Modeling the Limits of Human Pilots contains the following major sections:

  • Introduction
  • Review of the Relevant Literature
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations

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Author:  Gregory Stephen Woo

For related content, read Pilot Visual Detection of Small Unmanned Aircraft on Final Approach during Nighttime Conditions

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